Pentagon Agreement Opens AWS Spectrum for Auction
The Pentagon and the incumbent TV broadcasters have agreed to a spectrum-sharing deal for the 2025-2110 MHz bands.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is urging the FCC to make changes that would allow the Department of Defense (DoD) to move its operations from the 1755-1780 MHz spectrum and free up that spectrum for pairing with 2155-2180 MHz bands.
In a letter to the FCC, the NTIA supports the DoD proposal and notes that by changing the U.S. Table of Frequency Allocations for the 2025-2110 MHz band, it will “provide DoD additional spectrum access to a band with comparable technical characteristics to restore essential military capabilities that will be lost as a result of relocating systems out of 1755-1780 MHz.”
In July, the FCC launched proceedings to open up commercial operations in the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz Bands. In a statement issued, then-acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn hoped the Commission’s initiative would help in “expediting the repurposing of spectrum, and where technically and economically feasible, utilizing spectrum sharing to enhance efficiency among all users.”
With the DoD cleared from the 1755-1780 MHz bands, it will allow those bands to be reallocated from federal to commercial jurisdiction. As the FCC said in its initial proposal, it plans to designate the 2155-2180 for downlink and the 1755-1780 for uplink “on a shared basis with federal incumbents, if clearing is not feasible.”
The CTIA responded via statement in support of the NTIA’s letter: “We are hopeful that the 1755-1780 MHz band is ready in time to pair with 2155-2180 MHz band, as the industry has long sought. Pairing these bands will maximize their value to industry and consumers alike, and generate significant revenue for the U.S. Treasury.”
The FCC is working to meet a Congressional directive to auction and license the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz Bands by February 2015.
The Congressional deadline likely means a spectrum auction will have to occur around September/October 2014.